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Paris 2024 Qualifier: Cameroon 0-0 Nigeria: What we learned from draw in Douala

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By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde

Nigeria’s senior women’s national team played out a 0-0 draw with Cameroon in Douala on Friday.

The two sides failed to find the breakthrough after 90 minutes in the first leg of the third round of the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualifiers.

There are some lessons learned from the game as the Super Falcons prepare for the return leg in Abuja on Monday.

Waldrum game management woes

In his first game after the FIFA Women’s World Cup, coach Randy Waldrum continued his bad form of defensive results following a series of 0-0 draws with Canada, the Republic of Ireland, and England at the World Cup with another barren draw with Cameroon.

His lack of game management has cost the team valuable results.

It happened against Morocco in the semi final of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) where the nine-player Falcons lost on penalties to host, Morocco.

The same can be said about the Round of 16 clash as the team played extra time against ten players England and lacked the killer instinct to kill off the match.

The draw ended Nigeria’s post-World Cup impressive form under his assistant Justine Madugu but Waldrum needs to be wary of Cameroon’s threat in the return leg.

Questionable officiating

Uganda referee, Shamirah Nabadda and her compatriots, Lydia Nantabo, Jane Mutonyi, and Diana Murungi ruled out Esther Okoronkwo’s goal for an offside in the second half in a questionable manner.

A replay of the game showed that the player was not in an offside position.

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The West Africans will need to be prepared for any kind of officiating in the return leg.

Impressive Deborah Abiodun

The University of Pittsburgh midfielder was again impressive in the middle of the pack for the nine-time African champions.

She held her own in the midfield and also played a crucial role in the defensive position to avert Cameroon’s attacking threats. The former Rivers Angels player is expected to play a pivotal role in the return leg.

Selfish Asisat Oshoala

Newly signed Bay FC forward and record African women’s footballer of the year, Asisat Oshoala had chances to set up her teammates during the game but decided to go solo.

Her decision to go solo in search of a goal for herself turned Cameroon goalkeeper, Michaely Bihina into her team’s heroine for the night.

On two occasions, Oshoala should have set up her teammates in better positions to score before she was substituted.

With records of not qualifying for the Olympics since 2008, the team needs to be purposeful and decisive in the final third as the return leg won’t be an easy task as well as a potential clash with African champions, South Africa in the fourth and final round.

 

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